Hospitality Workers Collectively Ask for Panic Buttons to Protect Hotel Employees
by Jiun Wang, on Jun 6, 2022 11:53:00 AM
The hotel industry has made it clear, through a voluntary commitment, to enhance employee safety. Starting in 2018, many hotel companies have committed to better protect their employees through an initiative by the AHLA 5-Star Promise. Within the employee safety commitment, hoteliers would be implementing and providing their employees with panic buttons (i.e., safety duress devices, safety buttons, personal safety/security devices) to call for help when they are in danger or feel threatened. Beyond the 5-Star Promise, several states and cities in the United States have already passed mandates that requires hotels, casinos, and resorts within certain requirements to also provide their employees with these panic buttons.
Safety is a top priority for hoteliers across the country, and the momentum to further enhance employee safety is continuing to grow. In this post, we will highlight the existing mandates and why hospitality workers are asking for panic buttons to better protect themselves in the workplace.
Disclaimer: The content and materials available in this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author.
Passed Hotel Panic Button Legislation in the United States
Most hotel owners, operators, and managers are familiar with the process of ordinance and compliance requirements for their workplace as part of their responsibilities. For employee safety legislation, hoteliers in following cities and states are experienced in implementing a panic button solution and enhancing additional aspects of employee safety:
- Chicago, IL
- Long Beach, CA
- Oakland, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- Santa Monica, CA
- West Hollywood, CA
- Miami Beach, FL
- Seattle, WA
- New Jersey
Each location has their own unique measures, requirements, and details to meet the compliance requirements of the legislations – but all do include providing panic buttons to employees, especially if they work alone.
California Hospitality Workers are Asking for Panic Buttons
In 2021, the City of West Hollywood in California passed a hotel worker protection ordinance to improve safety and their working conditions. One of the primary elements of the ordinance was to require hotel employers to provide panic buttons to all hotel employees who are assigned to work without another employee present in the area. To inform the guests who are staying on the hotel property, the hotel must place signs at the back of each guest room and restroom in the building about how the law and the hotel provides the panic button device to their employees.
Sample section of the West Hollywood Ordinance No. 21-1159 regarding panic button devices:
5.128.020 Measures to protect hotel workers from violent or threatening conduct.
(a) Personal security devices.
(1) A hotel employer shall provide a personal security device to each hotel worker assigned to work in a guest room or restroom facility where other hotel workers are not present in the guest room or restroom facility. The personal security device shall be provided at no cost to the hotel worker.
(2) A hotel worker may activate a personal security device whenever a hotel worker reasonably believes that violent or threatening conduct or an emergency is occurring in the hotel worker’s presence. Immediately prior to or upon activating the device, the hotel worker may cease work and leave the immediate area of danger to await assistance. No hotel worker shall be subject to an adverse employment action for activating a personal security device or for ceasing work to await assistance absent clear and convincing evidence that the hotel worker knowingly and intentionally made a false claim of emergency.
(3) A hotel employer shall assign a security guard, manager, or supervisory hotel staff member to provide immediate on-scene assistance in the event that a personal security device is activated.
As you can see from the above list of cities and states with passed legislation that provides panic buttons, California is the state with the most cities that require hotels to enhance the safety of their employees. More recently, in the City of Los Angeles, hospitality workers are asking for a similar type of legislation to be added to a ballot that includes panic buttons and security measures to protect hotel housekeepers from threatening conduct and various other dangers.
What This Means for Hotel Employers
If a hotel worker safety and protection type of ordinance is passed in the City of Los Angeles, it will only continue to influence other cities and states to consider the priority of making sure the employees who work alone in a hotel have the means to call for help when they are faced with an uncomfortable or threatening situation. Many hotel brands and companies are already rolling out new safety measures across their entire portfolio of properties in alignment with their mission, values, and understanding that the safety of their people comes first.
List of Leading Organizations Committed to Enhancing Employee Safety
Benefits to Better Workplace Safety with Panic Buttons
The impacts of the pandemic have changed the hospitality industry’s safety procedures and policies for guests and employees. Even though most mask mandates are no longer required by cities and businesses, the priority of safety is still at the top of mind for hotel employers as a means to create a comfortable workplace. If your hotel brand is not already committed to providing panic buttons as one way to enhance employee safety, it would be recommended to start considering implementing a workplace safety solution that will not only protect their people, but may help to improve employee retention, knowing that the property has improved their safety initiatives.
In addition, your city or state may also be considering their own type of worker safety legislation (if there is not already one in place), so staying ahead of safety is a good investment for your property.
Learn more about how you can enhance the safety of your hotel workplace. Schedule a free demo today.